Hypothetical situation: I'm a moderator on the Truffles site. I'm very fortunate to have a user that is in the professional truffle-making business, and thus is very knowledgable about truffle science — he's a very valuable user.

However, this user also like to take pictures of truffles. Awesome, we love truffles. Not awesome: The guy also has employees. All his employee's social security numbers are posted in big letters on the wall right behind his truffle-picture-taking spot. So every time this user posts a picture, I have to go and edit his contributions to blur out the social security numbers and purge the history so that ordinary users can't find the original pictures on the site. This is very time consuming.

Really this boils down to: Someone is constantly posting things they shouldn't be posting and they need to be purged. They're otherwise a valuable member. What do I do?

  • I feel slightly funny answering given our respective positions over at SoftwareRecs but ah here goes... Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


Basically you have 2 first place options:

  • Continue as is: Con: takes time to deal with. Pro: keeps the member with no new hassles.
  • Privately talk to the user: If they are at all reasonable they'll just be careful to avoid private information accidentally being shared. Pro: Resolves the problem and reduces future workload. Con: If the user is 'touchy' could lose you an otherwise valuable member.
  • 2
    I'd argue, that the later is realistically the only way to go, on account of improvement of the overall community, WHILE removing the negative experience for the user of having their pictures deleted. Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 0:41
  • Yes #2 is definitely MUCH better but it does have the potential to lose a valuable contributor which for some communities could be serious compared to the moderation time. Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 2:43

What do your Terms of Use say? If your terms of use don't mention anything about a user's privacy or about non-users' privacy, you do nothing because it's not your problem. It's a scummy thing to post a user's social security number in the background of their place of business, but in all honesty if that is occurring, this contributing member probably has bigger issues.

If your terms say that personally identifying information is not allowed, then you deal with the problem. How you deal with it is up to your community's policies. Personally, I'd talk to the user and explain that you can see his employee's social security numbers. As a business owner, that should terrify him. Offer to help him clean up his posts/pictures, if you are inclined to be that helpful.

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